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5 Myths About Grilling You Need to Know for BBQ Season

By Leroy Hite, Cutting Edge Firewood
Photographs courtesy of Cutting Edge Firewood

Grilling is a centuries-old culinary technique that involves cooking meat and other food directly over a fire. Because it uses direct heat, grilling cooks food quickly. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the topic of grilling. If you’d like to be the master of your grill this summer, read on as I debunk these five myths you should ignore about grilling.

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1. You Should Only Flip Meat Once

You’ve probably heard this grilling myth before: Meat should only be flipped once. Some pitmasters believe that flipping meat more than once will dry it out. Whether you’re grilling chicken breasts, steaks, fish or any other meat, you should flip it multiple times to ensure it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn. If you only flip your meat once, it may burn on one or both sides, and likely dry it out, too.

2. Gas Grills Are Better Than Charcoal Grills

Both gas grills and charcoal grills have their own unique advantages. In terms of flavor, charcoal grills outperform their gas counterparts and impart a delicious charred flavor to meats. Gas grills are easier and faster to light than a charcoal grill, but don’t add the smoky flavor that charcoal does.

3. Marinade Will Soak Into Meat

Another grilling myth is that marinade will soak into meat. However, meat absorbs very little marinade — even when submerged in the flavorful liquid for 24 hours. You can still marinate your meat before grilling, but don’t assume that it will soak into your meat. Most of the marinade will simply stick to the exterior of your meat where it subtly enhances the flavor. You may choose to inject marinade into the meat or rub a spice blend into the outside of the meat.

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4. You Must Use Charcoal in a Charcoal Grill

Although they are called “charcoal grills,” you don’t have to limit yourself to only using charcoal in them. You can use high-quality firewood as an alternative fuel source. Cooking wood consists of hardwood varieties like oak, hickory, pecan, and cherry, all of which burn hot while producing minimal emissions and a delicious smokey flavor in the process. Just create a small stack of cooking wood in the main fuel compartment of your charcoal grill, and light it using tinder and kindling.

5. You Can Tell If Your Meat Is Done By Poking It

Some pitmasters poke their meat to determine whether it’s done cooking. A firm texture may lead you to believe that your meat is finished cooking, whereas a soft texture may make you think it needs a few more minutes on the grill. The reality is you can’t tell if meat is done cooking simply by poking it. Different types of meat require a different internal temperature for safe consumption. Chicken, for example, needs to reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas pork needs to reach an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. To ensure your grilled meat is safe to eat, use a meat thermometer to read its internal temperature.

Happy grilling to all this summer. Enjoy the beautiful warm weather and wonderful cookouts with your family and friends!

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